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Hay demand holds strong

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

According to the March 16 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wyoming Direct Hay Report, compared to the last report, all reported hay sold held steady and demand for hay remains strong. Most producers are almost out of hay to sell, and the bulk of produced hay seems to be staying in local trade areas. 

When it comes to prices, large three by four feet square bales of supreme alfalfa ran $310 per ton. Large round bales of good alfalfa ran $285 per ton and large three by four feet square bales ran $270 per ton. 

In the alfalfa premium category, small squares ran from $270 to $300 per ton, small, three-tie squares ran from $285 to $300 per ton and cubes ran $380 per ton. 

For premium alfalfa-orchard mix, small squares ran from $285 to $300 per ton, and small square oat bales ran $200 per ton. Small squares of fair teff hay ran $200 per ton.

Hay outlook

Valley Video Hay Markets Owner Barry McRea has brokered hay for 30 farmers in the Torrington area over the past 20 years. He notes all of his customers are currently out of hay. 

“For the last 30 days, prices have ran $285 per ton for rounds and squares and $300 to $310 for dairy hay,” he shares. “All at free on board (FOB) – price at place of origin, not including transportation charges – per stack.”

He mentions prices for hay this time of year, is excessively high, and last year, prices ran closer to the $210 per ton price range. 

McRea predicts hay prices won’t go much higher, as there isn’t much hay to bargain with, but as producers look to the spring and summer crop, prices are anticipated to come back down. 

“Going into spring, it looks like the moisture in our area is good, and so, we should have a pretty good crop this year,” he shares. “Prices should level back down $20 to $30 per ton for the first cutting.” 

For second cutting, he mentions it will depend on other areas of the nation. 

“Roughage is very short across the county, so until it has recouped, prices will stay pretty high,” he explains. 

He notes it would have helped if producers had the chance to put up cornstalks as an alternative roughage, but due to an early snow and wet conditions, not many had the chance to. 

Crop progress and condition report

The USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service Wyoming Field Office’s Feb. 23 Crop Progress and Condition Report notes Wyoming saw continued relief from drought conditions in February, with the majority of the state receiving above normal amounts of moisture.

Isolated areas of south-central and north-central Wyoming received precipitation levels as much as two inches above average.

Some areas in the western, southern and eastern parts of the state, however, received below average levels of moisture. Temperatures ran below normal for all of Wyoming in February. Western and central portions of the state were hit the hardest with frigid weather.

Hay and roughage supplies for Wyoming were rated 23 percent very short, 16 percent short and 61 percent adequate, compared with seven percent very short, 23 percent short, 69 percent adequate and one percent adequate last month. 

This time last year, hay and roughage supplies for Wyoming were rated 29 percent very short, 28 percent short and 43 percent adequate, compared with 13 percent very short, 42 percent short, 44 percent adequate and one percent surplus the month prior.  

The next monthly report will be released on March 27. The first weekly report will be released on April 3. 

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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